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Exterior Winter Home Maintence

Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013  ::  Views (24278)

Like it or not we here in Sarnia Lambton live in the snow belt of South Western Ontario. With the ground frozen and then often covered with snow and ice, work on the outside of the home is limited to the Fall and QUICKLY before the harsh winter. Work from this winter home maintenance checklist & it will give you the tools to help you maintain your most precious investment....your home. Just take the precautions for unexpected costs come the future. You will not regret it !

Winterize & store yard tools

  • Spray, wipe, and clean soil and grass clippings off of lawn mower, string trimmer, hedge trimmer, and other yard power tools to prevent rust formation.
  • Use a brush, putty knife, and water to clean blades. Remember to remove the spark plug before beginning work.
  • Scrub rust spots off of the equipment with a wire brush and spray the area with rust-inhibiting enamel.
  • Drain the oil and gasoline tanks.
  • Lubricate all hinges and moving parts on each power tool per the manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • Massage Tung oil into wooden handles to avert cracking during the cold months.
  • Store the tools in clean, safe places.
  • Avoid storing unused gasoline tanks in a garage or shed over the winter months.

Protect & winterize shrubs and plants

  • Use black mulch or ground up leaves to cover and insulate the base of the shrubs.
  • Put burlap around shrubs to protect them from harsh winds while allowing water and sunlight to penetrate.
  • Apply a wax spray designed for shrub leaves once monthly during the winter months as long as the temperatures were above 40° F.
  • Tie up the tops of tall, fragile plants, i.e. arbor vitae, with jute twine to prevent snow load damage. Then, cover the entire shrub with burlap or composted leaves.

 Snow & Ice Removal

  • Protect plant beds located near paths and driveways from snow shovel damage by driving down wooden stakes around the plant beds as shoveling guides.
  • Purchase shovels suited to the user, i.e. a bucket width that is no larger than the homeowner can handle when it is fully loaded with snow. Consider purchasing shovels that have s-shaped ergonomic handles.
  • Stock up on soft pusher shovels or brooms for soft building surfaces such as wood decks.
  • Refresh the supply of deicer chemicals such as magnesium chloride or calcium chloride as rock salts are hard on plants and tend to break down concrete.
  • Purchase a snow blower to remove snow from large, flat areas.
  • Add snow guards to the roof in climates where excess snow falls and slides off the roof especially if the roof has metal panels

Prevent Ice Dams

formations quickly and efficiently because they can lead to serious home damage. Ice dams are caused from trapped heat under the roof above an eave that is freezing, so the snow melts and then refreezes as an ice dam. 

  • Install heated cables to prevent ice dam formations. Take care to keep the cables turned on until all the snow has melted from the roof.
  • Add a box fan to the attic at the area where melted ice is leaking through. Sufficient air circulation will stop ice dam formations.
  • Remove snow and loose ice with a roof rake from the edge of the roof while standing on the ground.
  • When the weather warms, make plans to permanently increase ventilation and insulation within the attic.

Regularly remove snow and ice

  • Periodically remove snow and ice from the base of foundation walls to avert the concrete from freeze / thaw damage.
  • Store up a liquid magnesium chloride blend to spray on paths and driveways a few hours before a storm hits to help melt snow and prevent ice from bonding to the surfaces.
  • Store deicers in sealed buckets and off the floor to keep them dry.
  • Add silicone spray to the snow blower’s exit chute before each use. Allow the blower to run after each use to clear out the machine from excess water that may later freeze.



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